Over the past decade the importance of natural resources for sustainable agricultural development has been increasingly discussed at international forums and conferences. Aside from the sustainable management of soil, water, and air, it now seems to be accepted that the sustainable management of genetic resources is one of the four indispensable preconditions for a sustainable agriculture. The discussion on conservation of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA), however, has to reflect the costs of conservation as well. These have not yet been discussed intensively. The study analyzes the conservation costs of plant genetic resources; it also assesses the effectiveness of conservation and the efficiency of the different conservation instruments. It is based on extensive surveys in relevant countries. Following the detailed cost and impact analysis, the results show that the effectiveness of conservation strategies may be increased.